tv International Programming CSPAN February 15, 2010 12:00am-12:30am EST
>> james alan fox examines the recent declines in crime and violent crime rates nationwide, especially in cities. "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> it will not disguise the fact that the conservative pauley has absolutely no policy for the future. mr. speaker, this is a big challenge this country faces. the democratic changes that are taking place, the needs and impatient -- ambitions of people, i have to say, mr. speaker, this is no time for a novice. >> now from london, "prime
minister's questions, call from the british house of commons. this week, david cameron pressed prime minister brown and raising taxes for social care legislation. the prime minister said the tories were demanding a bill they had previously supported. members also questioned the prime minister on tony blair's destiny to the iraq war inquiry. the five member panel is examining the events leading up to the iraq war and the lessons learned. the report said prime minister brown is scheduled to testify at the beginning of art. >> order. questions for the prime minister. dr. brian iddon. >> number one, sir. >> i am sure that the whole house will wish to join me in paying tribute to private sean mcdonald and corporal johnathan moore from first battalion the royal regiment of scotland, attached to third battalion the rifles, and to warrant officer class 2 david markland from 36 engineer regiment, royal engineers. these were men of great character and commitment, whose loss is already keenly felt by their colleagues. i want to pay tribute, on behalf of the whole house, to their courage and dedication.
we think of their families and friends, and their sacrifice will not be forgotten. this morning i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and friends. in addition to my duties in the house, i shall have further such meetings later today. >> dr. brian iddon. >> i am sure that the whole house is at one with the prime minister in sending our sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of the brave servicemen who have lost their lives in serving this country. i am astonished at the orchestrated campaign that seems to have been mounted in some newspapers this morning, supported by tory councilors and bupa, opposing our social care plans, especially as the conservatives did not oppose those plans when they were before the house. will my right honorable friend commit himself this morning to continuing the fight to improve the lot of some of our most vulnerable citizens, the poorest pensioners in the country?
>> i am passionately committed, as is the government, to finding a better way of ensuring security and dignity for the elderly generation in retirement. that means not just providing institutional care of the highest standard, but helping people to stay for as long as possible with as good amenities as possible in their own homes. i hope that there will be all- party support for the bill that is going through the house of lords now, and has been through the house of commons, because it will enable us to make urgent need payments to all people, whatever their income, who need the very highest level of care in their homes. it will take time to develop a full social care system for the future, but it is in our interest to find a consensus in the country about how we can move forward to a better system for every elderly person. >> david cameron.
>> can i join the prime minister in paying tribute to corporal john moore, private sean mcdonald and warrant officer david markland, who have been killed in afghanistan this week? their deaths now mean that more people have died in this conflict than were killed in the falklands war. that is a measure of the scale of the sacrifice being made. our armed forces need to know they have all our support in the vital work they are doing. can i return to the question asked by the honorable member for bolton, south-east? this morning, local councils controlled by all parties have said that the prime minister's social care plans are unclear and unfunded, that they will lead to possible cuts and rises in council tax, that they have major weaknesses, and, crucially, that they will raise false expectations among many of the most vulnerable. everybody wants to do more to help with care, but why does the prime minister think that so many of the people responsible for delivering this
policy are so completely unconvinced by what he has put forward? >> his party supported this bill as it went through the house of commons. i do not know whether he has done another u-turn in policy over the last few hours. we have set aside 670 million pounds in the next year. 420 million pounds will come from the health service to providing that care for urgent needs. i know how much he likes personalizing politics. >> [unintelligible] >> of course i know how he hates punch and judy politics. i also know how much he wanted to build a consensus such as we had, for a week, on the economy, but surely it is in the interests of this house that we are united in the way we help old people in their own homes. surely a party that supported the policy one week should not be opposing it the next week.
>> if he is going to have pre- prepared jokes, i think they ought to be a bit better than that one. probably not enough bananas on the menu. we have consistently raised questions about the funding of this policy, and just this morning the response to a freedom of information request from the treasury shows that it could put 26 pounds on the council tax. i have to say to the prime minister that it is not just labour councilors who are angry about the way the policy has been put forward, but labour peers as well. lord lipsey -- he was a member of the government's own care commission, and he says that this is "one of the most disorderly pieces of government i have ever seen." lord warner, who was the government's own health ministers, described the policy as a cruel deception of the elderly, the vulnerable, and families. so can the prime minister explain why labour councilors, labour advisers, and labour ministers are all angry about the prime minister's mishandling of this?
>> when he knew what lord warner and others had said about it, why did his party support it in the house of commons? he cannot one day say he supports a policy, and the next day have a completely different policy, on a very important matter. >> [unintelligible] >> order. i apologize for interrupting the prime minister, but there is far too much noise in the chamber. i want questions and answers to be brief and focused on government policy, and i want to get down the order paper. let us have a bit of order, for the prime minister and others. prime minister. >> we have had u-turns every month -- every day of the month -- from the conservatives. they said it was moral cowardice not to cut and tear up our budget for 2010, and then they changed their minds and took a different position. on this issue, are they really going to say to the elderly of this country that they voted for this measure in the house of commons, they have urged their people in the house of lords to vote for it as well, and now they are refusing to support what we are doing to give local authorities and the elderly an extra 670 million pounds a year?
as i understand it, the shadow health secretary asked for talks with the health minister so that there could be consensus on this issue. it was only last night that they broke the consensus. >> [unintelligible] >>they had to take down a poster that they had at the beginning of the year because it was not authentic. they will have to bring down their new poster, because it is simply wrong. >> what we want to know is -- where is the money coming from? people who have worked very closely with the prime minister are completely opposed to the way this is being done. let us try andrew turnbull. he was cabinet secretary. he was permanent secretary for four years. the prime minister waves him away, but he probably knows this prime minister better than anyone else, and he says this, "it is doubly objectionable. it is objectionable in process and it is objectionable in substance." he also says, "it's a classic
gordon brown dividing line." politically expedient, poorly costed, and badly constructed. why does he think lord turnbull has got it wrong? >> why does he not address the policy issue? we have provided -- we have provided 420 million pounds from the nhs for social care for urgent needs. we are providing 250 million pounds from local authorities for efficiency savings. if he now agrees with the local authorities and thinks that that is impossible, why is it his policy to freeze the poll tax by demanding hundreds of millions more savings from local authorities? nothing he says adds up. nothing is consistent. he changes his policy almost every hour. >> the fact is that it is labour councils telling the prime minister that his policy does not add up. it is perfectly clear what the prime minister is doing.
he wants to tell us about the benefits of the policy before the election, and tell us about the costs of the policy after the election. this is not about the benefit of the elderly, it is about the benefit of the labour party. he wants to concentrate on the detail, so let me ask about the details of his social care plans. can he say whether he is ruling out all forms of a compulsory levy, whether means-tested or not, that elderly people would have to pay? is he ruling that out? >> he should read the white paper that we put forward, which sets out all the various options before us. mr speaker, they can make all the noise they want, and they can put up all the posters, but they have absolutely no policy to deal with the problems. they have no substance, they have no judgment, but they can hurl insults. they are not the new politics -- they are the same old tories. >> i have got the paper right here. one of the options is a 20,000
pound levy on every elderly person in this country, except the very poorest. that is what it says. let me ask him again -- will he rule out any form of compulsory levy on the elderly, yes or no? >> if he reads the white paper, he has not -- mr. speaker, he has not reported it correctly. he should read the whole chapter, so that he sees what it means. once again, what positive policy has come from the conservative party? he has been the leader of the conservative party for four years. he has put up lots of posters, he has lots of soundbites, but there is no policy coming from him. when we are dealing with social policy -- >> order. i apologize for interrupting, but there is too much noise. the decibel level is too high. it must go down, and it must go down now.
>> mr. speaker, when we are dealing with social policy, we seek consensus in this country. where you can find consensus, you find it. the conservatives have deliberately broken the consensus that existed, even after they voted for the bill in the house of commons. >> the prime minister keeps saying, "read the white paper." actually, it is a green paper, and i have got it here. and this is what it says. he wants a question about the detail. it says, "people might need to pay around 17,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds to be protected under a scheme of this sort." let me ask him one final time -- are these sorts of levies ruled in or ruled out? he says that he wants consensus, and the fact is that there is consensus. labour advisers, labour ministers, and labour councils all think that he is doing this for cheap dividing lines before an election. one last go -- are you going to do a levy? rule it in or rule it out. >> [unintelligible] >> order. order, order.
order, order. honorable and right honorable members on both sides are far too excited, and they must simmer down. >> the wall of noise will not disguise the fact that the conservative party has absolutely no policy on an issue that is vital to the needs of the elderly for the future. this is a big challenge that this country faces because of the demographic changes that are taking place and the needs and ambitions of old people. i have got to conclude that, when it comes to dealing with big areas of policy, i have to say, mr. speaker, this is no time for a novice. >> gordon marsden. >> thank you -- thank you, mr. speaker. will the prime minister congratulate the organizers of showzam, blackpool's new festival of circus, magic, and variety in our winter gardens
and tower? does not this government's funding for blackpool's regeneration and for our new sea front, trams, and headlands, alongside the sea change initiative, demonstrate his support for and strength in the regeneration of all our seaside towns? >> i applaud the way in which he has promoted the development of blackpool and all the seaside towns. the sea change program has benefited 32 seaside resorts, and there has been 38 million pounds in extra funding -- money that would not be available if there were ever a conservative government. regional development agencies are helping coastal towns fulfill their economic potential -- again, rda's that would be abolished under a conservative government. we will do more to help the coastal towns, and employment in those towns, but that cannot be said of the conservative party. >> mr. nick clegg.
>> i would add my expressions of sympathy and condolence to the family and friends of warrant officer class 2 david markland from 36 engineer regiment, and corporal john moore and private sean mcdonald from the royal scots borderers, 1st battalion the royal regiment of scotland, who all tragically lost their lives serving so bravely in afghanistan this week. mr. speaker, reports that wounded soldiers will receive better compensation is a glimmer of good news on the day that we hear that injured veterans are having to pay for their own treatment abroad. can i ask the prime minister about another hidden scandal that faces our troops? why are our soldiers who are serving on the front line in afghanistan receiving thousands of pounds less in basic pay than a new recruit to the police or fire service? >> first of all, i have to assure him that the new recommendations on the compensation scheme that are being prepared by lord boyce -- and welcomed, i believe, as a
review by the royal british legion -- will extend compensation in a number of areas where there has been controversy in the past. we want to do the best we can by those soldiers who are wounded. the secretary for defense will announce, later this afternoon, how the armed forces compensation scheme will be improved and in what areas, and how it will do more, particularly for award levels below the current high of 570,000 pounds. we will also introduce a faster interim payment. as for the pay of the troops, we have been determined to raise the pay of our forces at a higher rate than that of the other public services. i can tell him that for the lowest-paid troops, there was a 9% rise a year ago. i can also tell him that there is a theatre allowance, and that there is a withdrawal of any requirement to pay council tax while they are in afghanistan. we are doing everything we can to ensure our troops are not only well paid, but properly
equipped for the challenges ahead. >> nick clegg. >> thousands of servicemen and women are about to put their lives on the line in the biggest offensive yet in afghanistan. they have been stretched to the limit by a government who have got their priorities wrong -- employing 800 people to do media and communications for the m.o.d. but not giving our brave young soldiers a decent living wage. is it not time for the government to get their priorities right? they should cut the bureaucrats and pay our soldiers what they deserve. >> we have always accepted the recommendations of the armed forces pay review body, which is set up on an independent basis to take information and evidence and then recommend to the government. i hope that he will agree, when he looks into this, that we have accepted recommendations that, in the past few years, have been for higher pay rises than elsewhere. i also remind him that 70,000 civilian staff have gone from the ministry of defense as we have made the focus of our efforts our front-line services.
there will be more civilian redundancies as we use new technology to make available the back-office services that enable the front line to have the best equipment. he cannot deny the fact that 14 billion pounds in urgent operational requirements and additional money, on top of the defense budget, has gone to our troops, particularly for iraq and afghanistan. it really is not fair to tell our troops that they do not have the equipment that is needed when we have done everything in our power. i asked the chief of the defense staff yesterday if the proper equipment was available for any exercises that we had to undertake, and he said that he had checked with those people on the ground, and that was exactly the case. >> dr. stephen ladyman. >> specialist nurses are going to be vital if we are to meet the prime minister's commitment to one-to-one care for cancer patients, as well as helping people with alzheimer's and
parkinson's to stay in their own home. but we know from the early 1990's that when governments decide to squeeze nhs budgets, specialist nurses often do not get a look in. will the prime minister guarantee that under his government, specialist nursing will get the resources that it needs to deliver the standard of health care at home that we on this side of the house want to see? >> we are trying to transform cancer care in our country. over the next 10 years, 15 billion pounds is being invested in research, much of it in cancer. the cancer guarantee is that people can see a specialist within two weeks. we hope that this will happen within one week, so that people can have their diagnostic test and results sometimes on the same day. we want to introduce a service in which there is personalized care available for those suffering from cancer, so that they can also be visited at home. this is how the modern health service is going to develop -- personalized services available to people and tailored to their
needs. with the reforms that we have made, it is now possible to do so. i cannot for the life of me understand why the conservative party is rejecting the cancer guarantee that would allow people to see a specialist within two weeks. i believe that it challenges their very commitment to the health service. >> douglas carswell. >> britain wisely stayed out of the euro. there is now a strong possibility that greece will default on her debts -- something that is not our immediate problem. can the prime minister confirm that, at a time when our national debt is rising fast, there is no question of uk taxpayers' money being used to bail out greece, under any circumstances or in any way? >> greece should stick by the commitments that it has made to the european union and the world. as you know, at the g-20 conference in london in april we put in place arrangements that could help countries if they were in difficulty.
these arrangements are still in place and have been used by some countries. it is up to the euro area to decide what they want to do in relation to euro area countries, but there is international support available if greece wishes it. >> karen buck. >> high-visibility police patrols are the public's number one priority for reassurance and crime prevention. does he share my concern that the rise of 6,500 police in london in recent years now appears to be going into reverse, with the mayor of london's draft budgets implying a cut of 455 police officers over his term in office? will he do what he can to protect, in particular, our much valued safer neighborhood police teams? >> under a labour government, there has been an increase of 6,000 police in the metropolitan police service we are also proud that there are 4,500 police community support officers available. but i have to say that for the conservative party to publish a document on law and order which
does not mention police numbers, prison places, cctv, or dna shows that it is the first opposition party to run out of ideas even before facing an election. >> elfyn llwyd. >> does the prime minister regret the inability of his predecessor mr. blair to express to the chilcot inquiry any sympathy or regret for the awful loss of life in iraq? >> i know that the former prime minister wrote to people at the time and expressed his condolences and sympathies for every family. ñii also know that on many occasions he has expressed his sadness at the losses that took place in iraq. i say to the whole house that i think that we have been united at every point in mourning the losses of our troops, and also the loss of civilian life in iraq. >> gordon prentice. >> has my friend visited
gordonprenticemp.com today -- >> [laughter] >> -- to see how the next election in my constituency is being bought by a tax exile? çówio/idoes he agree that he nee here, and that pendle is not for sale? >> the conservative party cannot talk about new politics or transparency unless they answer the central question about the tax status of its chief fundraiser, lord ashcroft. the information commissioner has already said that the party has been evasive and obfuscatory about the ashcroft scandal. they have questions that they have to answer. >> roger williams. >> the prime minister and his noble friend the secretary of state for business, innovation, and skills are right to believe
that a central plank to building a sustainable and prosperous economy is investing in science and research, yet across the uk are reported cuts in research budgets. i am thinking in particular of the institute of biological, environmental and rural sciences in aberystwyth, which is facing cuts of 2.5 million pounds and 70 job losses. will he, if the prime minister has any influence with his noble friend, intervene to maintain investment in science? >> i hope he will acknowledge that we have doubled the science budget over the past few years and done more for british science than at any time since the second world war. an innovation fund has been set up to benefit scientists as they develop their innovations and put them into the marketplace. i know that lord drayson, the science minister, announced today the thousands of jobs that can be created in new scientific industries as a result of our investment, and i believe that
universities and science researchers recognize that we have doubled research activity in universities over these last few years. >> barry gardiner. >> does the prime minister agree that the arrest of general fonseka in sri lanka is yet another indication that the regime of president rajapakse is sliding into dictatorship? >> as my honorable friend knows, a decision was made at the commonwealth summit that sri lanka would not host the next commonwealth summit. we are aware of the human rights issues that have arisen in sri lanka since the fighting that took place with the tamils. we urge the government to recognize the human rights of all those who are tamil citizens in sri lanka, and we also urge them to move forward with the reconstruction of the country so that those who have been excluded both from power and from the chances of a livelihood can benefit now. >> phil willis. >> the prime minister knows that every five minutes in the
uk somebody has a stroke, which will have a devastating effect on those people's lives and on the lives of their families. in harrogate the stroke association has set up a carers' resource to support families in their own homes, yet conservative-controlled north yorkshire county council has slashed the 35,000-pound budget, preferring to spend 140,000 on self-congratulatory newsletters. what is the prime minister -- mr. speaker: order. order. i want to hear the question and then the answer. finish the question, please. >> what is the prime minister doing to ensure that the national stroke strategy is carried out everywhere, but particularly in north yorkshire? >> i think, mr. speaker, that he is saying that the conservatives have nothing to congratulate themselves about. it is this government that has published a stroke strategy. it is also the government who wants to introduce a health test so that people can get a health check-up.
we believe that that would remove the possibility of hundreds of deaths as a result of strokes or heart disease, and we will be introducing that during the next parliament. >> [laughter] >> they laugh every time we talk about measures that try to improve people's health in this country. if they were really interested in the health service they would support the new health service guarantees, but because they are not, they cannot bring themselves to support a guarantee that every citizen of this country could get a health check-up, whereas previously they would have had to pay. >> mr. gwyn prosser. >> the port of dover is the busiest ferry port in the world. i have sailed out of it for 12 years and represented it for the past 13 years. what can the prime minister say today to dispel the fabrications and the fables being spun by the carpetbagging conservative candidate? >> [unintelligible] >> the carpetbagging conservative candidate, who
says that the government is hell-bent on selling the port of dover to the highest bidder, and that the highest bidder might be french? >> order, order. can i gently say -- i was trying to hear, but there was a lot of noise -- that as far as i am aware, the prime minister has no responsibility for the stance taken by conservative candidates? >> neither does david cameron. >> thank goodness, mr. speaker. it is the honorable gentleman -- the honorable gentleman who has been a great champion of dover and its people, and i know that he wants the best for the people of dover, including a flourishing port. i share that aspiration. there will be no forced privatization under labour. we will look for new ways of getting new investment into the port. >> [unintelligible] >> order. i think the seam is exhausted. mr. john redwood. >> why, uniquely among the advanced economies, does the uk have an inflation rate well above target and rising